Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dancehall's 'First Ladies' making their mark

For years Lady Saw represented as the 'Queen of the Dancehall' but now the 'First Ladies' are taking control of the music and representing for their various labels.

In the last few months, the title of 'First Lady' has been growing in numbers with the women stepping up in the forefront of male dominated labels and groups.

The list of 'First Ladies' includes D' Angel as 'First Lady of the Dancehall', Raine Seville as the 'first lady of DASECA', Shema McGregor at the helm of the Big Ship as a female, Lisa Hype runs as lady of the Portmore Empire, newcomer Bambi as the first lady of Spragga Benz's Red Square group and countless others who are also using the name.

Usually representing the lone female in a male dominated arena, the title of 'first lady' is the latest marketing tool for the females and is seen as a show of respect to the female chosen to represent the label or group.

In her song, First Lady, D' Angel proclaims herself as the first lady of the dancehall, deejaying in the song, "D' Angel mi name, mi a di first lady, mi see nuff of dem a hype dem a di worst lady." For D' Angel, the title of first lady arose from her marriage to self-proclaimed 'King of the Dancehall' Beenie Man in 2007.

She told THE STAR, "I'm the first dancehall female artiste to be married, so that automatically makes me the first lady. We were the first dancehall couple to tie the knot. For me, it's just a title, it's not like it adds or detracts from my career." According to D' Angel, the inspiration for her First Lady song was inspired by simply being herself. She is currently anticipating the release of two new singles including a party song with Vegas and her follow-up single to Stronger titled I Am Not Ashamed.

Another prominent first lady is new singer Raine Seville who got the title two years ago when she started to work with the producing trio DASECA.

According to Seville, who has upcoming songs such as Really Over, Through With Love and By My Side, she was given the title by singjay/producer Serani and takes her role as the camp's first lady very seriously.

"It's a wonderful feeling to be the first lady of a camp that is making major moves in the music business. Serani is signed to Universal, Bugle is doing great things, Mavado and Alaine being introduced to the industry through DASECA, clearly they have an eye for talent and they must see major potential in me to give me such a title. It therefore means I have a responsibility to represent for females in general and be able to keep up with everything," Seville said.

Similar sentiments were expressed by Lisa Hype who felt it was her job to keep up the standards of Portmore Empire's head Vybz Kartel. Hype told THE STAR that she was given the title last year when she became a member of the Empire.

"It means that I have to be strong and uphold the principles of Kartel, to be able to represent him," she commented.

Source: Jamaica Star

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